Envinate Lousas 'Vinas de Aldea', Ribeira Sacra, Spain 2014

Envinate Lousas Vino Aldea.jpg
Envinate Lousas Vino Aldea.jpg

Envinate Lousas 'Vinas de Aldea', Ribeira Sacra, Spain 2014


The buzz about the Ribeira Sacra region is only going to get louder when people taste wines like this. The region seems to be spearheading a new direction in Spanish wine towards lighter, fresher, silkier reds with lower alcohol and an appetising dryness that makes them so versatile with food, showing more of an affinity with the textural fragility of Pinot Noir, for example, than the ‘oak soups’ that you often find in modern Rioja or the Ribera del Duero. This is a fantastic introduction to Spain’s new bearing, which is really gathering pace in the ‘Atlantic’ appellations around Galicia, and I can't recommend it highly enough. The Lousas ‘Vinas de Aldea’ 2014 is Envinate's equivalent of a ‘village’ wine, in the Burgundian sense, sourced from 12 different parcels in various sub-regions of the Ribeira Sacra ranging from 15 to 60 years of age and located between 400 and 600 metres altitude on varied soils of slate and granite depending on the location.

The Vinas de Aldea 2014 is predominantly made from Mencia, with a few local varieties thrown in for good measure (Brancellao, Merenzao, Mouraton, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorera), and the grapes were foot-trodden and fermented with 40% whole-clusters (i.e. with the stems) in small open vats. It’s oh so fine and elegant and beautifully tailored to fit its shape. The aromas are pure and wild, suggestive of shiny cherry skins, fraises des bois, crushed rubies and purple flowers, while the flavours glide across the palate, evoking dark cherry, juicy red grapes, blood orange, a hint of white pepper (typical of Mencia) and a suggestion of cool minerals. It tastes best if you drink it slightly below room temperature. It’s an utterly beguiling Spanish red and you shouldn’t hesitate in snapping some up while stocks last, which they won't, because their total production is just 330 cases! 12.5% alc. Drink now-2020.

Press reviews:

The WIne Advocate: “Their regional wine, the 2014 Lousas Viñas de Aldea is from their third vintage in Ribeira Sacra, and the third cool vintage in a row, with some rain but with healthy grapes. These are wines of freshness and elegance, their best to date. This is mostly Mencía with some 10% other reds (Merenzao, Brancellao, Caíño, Sousón, Mouratón, Alicante Bouschet/Garnacha Tintorera...) from a diversity of vineyards ranging from 15 to 60 years of age, at 400 to 600 meters altitude in different subzones of Ribeira Sacra. The different vineyards had different ways of fermenting, sometimes with full clusters, some not, but always in small open top containers. The wine matured in a collection of well-seasoned 225- , 228-, 350-, 400- and 500-liter oak barrels with the lees for some 11 months without racking. The nose is really open and floral, with notes of acid berries denoting great freshness. The nose unfurls and shows more complexity, dry rose petals, wet stones, and spices. They have also added some new plots that have contributed to the freshness of the wine. They have achieved their aim at producing fresh and light wines, easy to drink, especially in this 'volume' cuvée. There is a big jump in quality in this vintage, and they have achieved an elegance and balance never seen before; they have polished the rusticity of previous vintages. This is a superb example of approachable, drinkable Ribeira Sacra. None of these wines have any oak or edges, but with the acidity and balance they show, they should age nicely in bottle; however, there's no need to wait, and the profile is so attractive that it's difficult to keep your hands off it. A bargain. In 2015 they have added some new vineyards from the Quiroga zone and they have bought new concrete vats. This is a wine to follow in coming years. 7,000 bottles.” 93 points

Jancis Robinson: "Cherry candy, dry and fibrous palate with a fairly light body yet fulsome flavour." 17 points

Customer comments:

"I opened the Ribeira Sacra you recommended a couple of nights ago - astonishing stuff." - Mr J.W., April 2016

"We tried one of the bottles last night. Reminded me a bit of Marzemino from Trentino (a good thing from my point of view). My wife (usually implacably opposed to Spanish wines) was favourably impressed being keen on this new fashion for unoaked, lower alcohol  wines."  - Mr A.N., April 2016

"I loved the wine. So fresh and crunchy. Tannins so well managed." - Mrs N.P., May 2016

"I tried the Envinate last night - very nice indeed!" - Mr L.Z., June 2016

"It's fantastic!" - Mr. P.D., August 2016

"We had a bottle last night and it is really superb stuff. " - Mr. D.M., December 2016

"Just sipping one of the Ribeira Sacra wines we bought from you - lovely Mencia action going on here.  Love it. Lovely punchy red fruit and some nasty, dirty feral action going on under the covers." - Mr. P.J., January 2017

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